White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said he was dumbfounded by the unpopularity of the Republican tax bill, and claimed that President Donald Trump fought unsuccessfully to strip a provision that mostly benefits wealthy investors.

“To be honest with you, I don’t know,’’ Cohn said Tuesday at a Washington event hosted by Axios, when asked why the plan lacked public support. Middle-income Americans “are getting the largest percentage tax savings of anyone in the whole distribution. So we have clearly not communicated that.”

Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. president, said public support would increase when the bill is implemented. He said if he could change one thing about the plan, he would strip the carried-interest provision in the tax code that largely benefits Wall Street investors. Trump, who promised to end the provision during his presidential campaign, was unable to convince lawmakers to make the change, Cohn said.

“We’ve been trying to cut carried interest -- we probably tried 25 times,” Cohn said. “We hit opposition in that big white building with the dome at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue every time we tried.”

Senate Republicans passed the most extensive rewrite of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years, a bill that delivers a deep, permanent tax cut for corporations and shorter-term relief for individuals.

The chamber’s 51-48 party line vote just before 12:45 a.m. Wednesday in Washington brought Trump to the brink of his first major legislative victory.

The White House said Wednesday that Trump would hold an event on the tax bill at 3 p.m. but that he will sign the bill “at a later date.”

The bill -- which has scored poorly in public opinion polls -- promises to become one of the biggest issues in the 2018 elections that will determine whether the GOP retains its majorities in Congress. The House is set to vote on the bill Monday, which would send it to Trump’s desk.

Cohn said Trump would sign the bill this year if Congress is able to pass a separate provision waiving automatic spending cuts as part of a year-end spending deal to avoid a government shut down before Friday. If not, Trump would sign the bill in early 2018, he said.

The bill falls short of many of the public promises made by Cohn and other top Trump aides when they first rolled out a framework for the plan. For example, the final bill includes significant tax cuts for the highest income earners, something that Cohn and other White House officials said would not happen.

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